An illuminating, unsentimental biography of William H. Gates III, youthful cofounder of Microsoft--the multibillion-dollar enterprise that dominates the world of PC software. While Manes (a columnist for PC/Computing) and Andrews (a Seattle Times correspondent) do a better job of explaining the commercial/technical significance of their subjects's contributions to a transforming industry than did James Wallace and Jim Erickson in Hard Drive (p. 526), they provide more detail than many readers may care to absorb. Drawing on access to Gates as well as to his family, associates, and rivals, Manes and Andrews offer a like-it-is portrait of an archetypal nerd who built a world-class business empire. They follow the abrasive, ultracompetitive Harvard dropout from a privileged boyhood in the Pacific Northwest through his creation, with Paul Allen, of the first computer language for PCs and of Microsoft and more. Along his fast track to the top, Gates (now 37) helped develop DOS (the pace-setting computer operating system), joined forces with IBM (an alliance that subsequently dissolved in acrimony), and made notable enemies (including Apple). Although the focused, obsessive entrepreneur devotes most of his waking hours to work, the authors make clear that he has a lively, if unconventional, social life, which has included virtual ``dates'' in which he and an old flame attended the same movie in different cities and discussed it via car phones on their respective ways home. Manes and Andrews also illustrate how, for all his achievements, Gates remains envious of genuine scientific genius capable of breakthroughs on the cutting edge of technology. An exhaustive report on an aging whiz-kid whose consequential life story is far from over. The scrupulously documented text has 16 pages of photos (not seen).